* Say Ex Governor cannot breach zoning arrangement for selfish interest
A crisis of confidence has broken out between Senate minority leader Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio and political stakeholders cum gladiators from Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara federal constituency.
The senate minority leader has been accused of plotting to scatter and abuse the age long tradition of zoning in the federal constituency owing to what they (stakeholders including Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien, Pastor Sunny Ibuot, Don Etim, Rt (Hon) Nsikak Ekong, Elijah Iyak, Chris Ekpenyong, Idongesit Ntekpere and others) understand as Sen. Akpabio’s subtle plans to impose Emmanuel Akpan on the people for a second term.
Some of the stakeholders who spoke to our reporter in Ikot Ekpene over the weekend described as insensitive and callous the perceived plot by Akpabio to return Emmanuel Akpan to the National Assembly against the wishes of the people.
THE INK understands that Ikot Ekpene federal constituency have since 1999 been practicing a term zoning system where candidates from the three Local Governments that make up the federal constituency go to the National Assembly for a term and not seek a second term whatsoever.
Stakeholders are not pleased that Senator Akpabio, the political leader of the federal constituency has perfected plans to foist the incumbent member Emmanuel Akpan who hails from Essien Udim LGA on them for a second term.
In separate interactions with our political desk, they have however promised to stop Emmanuel Akapn whom they described as not only being a poor representative but a man who in the first instance did not even deserve to have been a representative of an enlightened people like Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim, Obot Akara federal constituency.
An aide to Emmanuel Ibokessien told THE INK Portal that Senator Ibokessien has not found it funny ever since the rumour mills leaked information that Akpabio was planning to return Emmanuel Akpan for a second term.
Senator Ibok Essien is said to have described the rumour as nonsensical even as he is alleged to have added that Akpabio would betray himself if he continues selling Emman Akpan’s candidate in 2019 to Ikot Ekpene federal constituency.
The Senator who served from 1999 to 2003 at the red chambers of the National Assembly is said to have informed some political gladiators that any attempt by Akpabio to return Emmanuel Akpan will run contrary to led down rules of political engagements in the federal constituency.
Pastor Sunny Ibuot who is a frontline contender for the federal constituency seat come 2019 spoke through one of his aides who simply said “Editor, we are not happy that Ete(referring to Akpabio) will have the mind to contemplate returning Emmanuel Akpan to the National Assembly for a second term.
Well, if he does, it will not stop Sunny Ibuot from defeating them. The truth is that there is zoning in this our federal constituency and Godswill Akpabio’s pact with his brother Emman Akpan cannot erase it. Zoning has come to stay”.
Don Etim is said to have laughed it off when he learnt of Emmanuel Akpan’s second term bid. The Ex-commissioner is said to have told his political followers that it is all politics and that they should not be frightened.
The feelings of stakeholders from Obot Akara LGA were also sampled. The Paper learnt that it is the belief of stakeholders from Obot Akara Local Government Area that if Emmanuel Akpan is not stopped now, then the zoning and rotational political policy in the area would have been altered for the bad reasons.
Their position is that it will take Obot Akara more than twelve years beginning from 2019 to produce a National Lawmaker if Akpabio and Emmanuel Akpan have their ways.
This paper understands that the likes of Chris Ekpenyong, former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, serving Commissioner Monday Uko, Assemblyman Idongesit Ntekpere and even SA to Governor on due process, Ufot Ebong have concluded plans to team up with their Ikot Ekpene colleagues to stop Akpabio from having his way in the Federal Constituency by 2019.
Former Deputy Governor, Engr. Chris Ekpenyong is understandably annoyed that Akpabio intends to shift the goal post in the middle of the game. THE INK Portal understands Chris Ekpenyong is of the opinion that zoning and rotation of representatives in the federal constituency predates Akpabio’s political voyage and therefore the Senate minority leader owes the federal constituency that political loyalty and not abuse.
Ekpenyong popularly known as Ukarakpa is believed to be plotting a political war against Akpabio should the former Governor makes real his plot of denying Ikot Ekpene LGA the chance of producing a representative in 2019.
Immediate past National Lawmaker for the area, Barr. Saviour Udoh is one of those waiting for Akpabio and Akpan. The Obot Akara born politician had in 2015 sought a second term but was stopped by forces from the federal constituency with Akpabio then the Governor leading the pack because of zoning.
Barr. Saviour Udoh is today however wondering why Akpabio seeks to change the rule of the game midway. Barr. Udoh is opined to have said that come sun or rain, Akpabio will be stopped.
For Idongesit Ntekpere who speaks for the people of Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Akpabio’s silent plot to retain Emmanuel Akpan is an affront on the sensibilities of Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara federal constituency and should not only be discouraged but all arsenal towards the stoppage of the rascality should be deployed.
Ntekpere’s political fans and aides told THE INK reporter in Uyo last week that the Assemblyman is very angry over Akpabio’s sinister moves to return his kinsman and will join the struggle to stop what they termed as callous political sentiment.
An aide to the Youths and Sports Commissioner told our reporter that Monday Ebong Uko is not pleased with the political development of returning Emmanuel Akpan to the National Assembly.
He said that the sentiments of the Commissioner is that anything worth doing to ensure that Akpabio’s plot against the zoning arrangement falls should be encouraged.
The Commissioner, one of his aides said will prefer to fight the battle from the background because of his seeming closeness to the former Governor.
Ufot Ebong, SA to Udom Emmanuel on Due Process and Technical Matters is said to have told some political heavy weights that even though he is not a politician, that the very idea of returning Akpan to the National Assembly as a representative of an enlightened people is absurd especially when the person is not favoured by zoning.
He is said to have promised to stand on the side of the people against any form of injustice, be it political, moral or otherwise.
Stakeholders from Essien Udim Local Government Area would not share their thoughts on this debacle. One of them who is quite close to the Akpabios when contacted pleaded anonymity while responding that a lot of things will be and whatever will be will be.
But one of them Cosmas Udoekaebe however added that Essien Udim people will stay on the side of justice, truth and peace.
Our source maintained that the political leader of the LGA, Chief Michael Afangideh will obviously be comfortable with Ikot Ekpene producing Emmanuel Akpan’s successor irrespective of what Godswill Obot Akpabio will want.
Other stakeholders who contributed to the discourse when contacted opined that as far as 2019 is concerned, that Emmanuel Akpan has no business at the National Assembly. They maintained that Godswill Akpabio’s antics and scheming will meet its limit if he (the Ex-Governor) attempts to fly with Emmanuel Akpan.
Stakeholders across the federal constituency argued also that if the zoning arrangement in the federal constituency is to be reconsidered, then it should wait until power returns to Obot Akara LGA who will then take the first slot at a second term.
The Akpabio’s idea of shortchanging people and abusing zoning would have to come to an end, they opined.
It could be recalled that upon the return of Democracy in 1999, Abom Tony Ibanga Esu from Obot Akara LGA was elected the representative for the federal constituency from 1999 to 2003. Esu made way for Barr. Nsini Umosoh in 2003 and Umosoh was to run that legislature for four years of 2003 to 2007. But unfortunately Umosoh who hails from Essien Udim died mid way into his tenure.
He was accordingly succeeded by his senior legislative aide Sunyiekekere Inokon who also hailed from Essien Udim Local Government Area. At the end of that tenure in 2007, party Elete Ineme from Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area took over and ended his tenure in 2011. An attempt by Etete Ineme to seek a second term was rejected. The cycle began again with Barr. Saviour Udoh from Obot Akara in 20011 and his tenure ended in 2015.
He also attempted a shot at second term but was stopped because he was not favoured by zoning. Political gladiators from the Federal constituency said, the move to stop Saviour Udoh was orchestrated by Akpabio. Upon his stoppage, the way for Emmanuel Akpan from Essien Udim Local Government Area was cleared and Akpan eventually emerged.
Emmanuel Akpaan is a former Deputy Chief whip of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. His tenure as a representative for Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim, Obot Akara federal Constituency is supposed to end in 2019 to make way for a candidate from Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.
Given the alleged interest of Akpabio in plotting to return him come 2019, Ikot Ekpene candidates appear to be waiting on a wing and a prayer.
Amongst candidates from Ikot Ekpene seeking Emmanuel Akpan’s seat are: Rt (Hon) Nsikak Ekong, Pastor Sunny Ibuot, Patty Etete Ineme and Obongifiok Anny Asikpo of APC.
These are the early birds for the job for now.